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Allen & Overy NQ pay hits £81,000 as trainees handed £2,000 increases

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Exclusive: Yet more magic circle salary boosts

Image via Instagram (@jup84)

Allen & Overy has become the latest magic circle player to up the salaries of its trainee and junior lawyers.

The firm, which dishes out around 90 training contracts each year, has confirmed that newly qualified (NQ) pay packets have been upped from £78,500 to £81,000, equating to a rise of 3%. Allen Overy has confirmed to Legal Cheek that this is a “base-rate” salary.

Today’s pay uplift means Allen & Overy’s NQs are now £2,500 better off than their counterparts at Linklaters (£78,500), and £3,000 above their peers at Slaughter and May (£78,000). Clifford Chancewhich confirmed salary increases of its own last week — pays its newbie associates £87,300, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s fresh faced talent earn £85,000 a year.

However, training contract hunters beware. With the recent influx in City firms combining salaries and bonuses, these hefty sums of money are likely to fluctuate depending on individual performance.

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy’s trainees are also cashing in on the rise. First years will now earn £44,000 (up 5%), while salaries for those a year ahead now stand at £49,000 (up 4%).

The extra dough puts year one trainees £1,000 ahead of their opposite numbers at Freshfields (£43,000), Linklaters (£43,000) and Slaughter and May (£43,000). Clifford Chance’s first year cohort remain rooted to the top of the magic circle pay table with earnings, before tax, of £44,800.

Allen & Overy’s second year trainees are also sitting pretty. They are now on a pay par with those completing their training contacts at Linklaters (£49,000) and a full £1,000 better off than their equals at Freshfields (£48,000) and Slaughter and May (£48,000). Again, thanks to last week’s pay increases, Clifford Chance’s second years top the magic circle pay table with a salary of £50,500.

The news comes just over two years after Allen & Overy last published pay increases. Legal Cheek reported at the time that NQ wedge had risen by a whopping 18% to £78,500.

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54 Comments

Anonymous

It is a token increase. Not enough.

Anonymous

Agreed. But the trainee salaries are edging much closer to US firms’ trainee salaries. Perhaps the US firms need to respond in that department soon because while US firms clearly take the lead by a fair amount in respect of NQ salaries, a trainee-to-be who is not in it for the long run might be enticed by the seemingly similar starting salaries of the magic circle.

Dumfuk

You’re fucking nuts. £82k for a 24 y.o. freshly shat turd with milk running down his/her chin is an outrageous wedge.

Quit being a c*nt, there’s millions of people in this country earning a quarter of that and trying to scratch a living.

Jones Day Partner

That’s not milk. Not with our NQs, anyway.

Anonymous

Not all NQs are 24. I was 29 as an NQ and I am the sole breadwinner of the family as my wife has a condition which means she cannot work. Try getting a nice home for the family for under 100k*4 in London. A couple ach earning 20-25k in Stoke will find it infinitely easier to live a financial comfortable life and own a house compared to me and my family.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

But it’s 81k… not 82k.

Anonymous

Sucks to be you trolololololol

Anonymous

Pathetic.

Anonymous

Trainee salary figure is slightly deceptive as CC don’t pay a trainee bonus (whereas Links/Slaughters do)

Anonymous

Smoke and mirrors from MC firms by including potential bonuses in NQ salaries unlike US firms who advertise NQ base rates.

Anonymous

weak

Anonymous

month

Anonymous

Hopefully this will cause the other firms in the market (AG, CMS etc.) to bump up in the interim!

Anonymous

Hold your breath then.*

*Death by suffocation likely.

Anonymous

CMS ROFL

Anonymous

No chance – overheads too big, massively squeezed margins on work, expensive offices (especially the CMS broiler farm).

CMS might go up to £70k by next year, but no chance it’ll go higher than that. The firm’s already teetering after that gangbang of a double-merger.

Anonymous

Doubt CMS will bother upping NQ salary. They gave 1-2 PQEs a rise of between £5 and £1,000 recently so will need to focus the coffers in the direction of those at the 1-3PQE range to avoid losing their good juniors.

They won’t, as usual. The 1-4PQE exodus at CMS will continue. Those who make it all the way to partner there will continue to be slightly odd people.

Anonymous

This happened a while ago

Anonymous

I wouldn’t get out of bed for that amount of money.

Jones Day Partner

Darling, you are getting it all wrong. We are paying you this amount so that you get into bed with us.

Anonymous

It would take more than that for me to get into bed with you, sweet cheeks.

Frustrated Writer

All Tom’s mates knew he was depressed. They were far too blokey and macho though to say anything. There would be laughter, forced shots and humiliation when a more sensitive comment was made around the pub table.

Tom’s best mate, Jeremy, subscribed heavily to that way of thinking. Jeremy was a typical rugby playing jock. Tall, with perfectly cut and styled dark hair, he had been brought up in an upper middle class home in Berkshire, and had known only privilege in his privately educated, Henley Regatta attending childhood. His older brother and he had even been childhood playmates of the Middleton girls. By day, he was Jeremy, the respectable professional, working at a small family office in Mayfair, managing the wide investment portfolio of a successful Malaysian business tycoon, having come through the ranks at a Swiss investment bank in the City. That was only one side of him though. In the evening, on arriving home, he would immediately drop his corporate demeanour, shed his designer suit and carefully selected tie and put on the tired rugby shirt and shorts from university, and become Jezz the binge drinking lout.

So it was a surprise when he tentatively asked Tom how he was one Monday gym session. “I’m fine, Jezz, don’t worry about me” Tom replied, grabbing a 20kg plate and aggressively sliding it onto the bar resting on the squat rack, causing it to clank loudly. “Why’d you ask?”. His tone was defensive.

Jeremy helped Tom put a matching weight on the other end of the bar. “Nothing, dude. You just seemed a little down. And I’m worried you won’t be up for Friday’s sesh at this rate. You know I need my wingman to hold my jacket while I get the chicks”.

Tom didn’t respond to the point, instead positioning himself under the now loaded bar. “You gonna spot me or what?”.

Jeremy duly moved behind Tom, hands outstretched as he squatted. He was not happy to be brushed off like that. Whilst he had a lot of bravado, he did care about Tom, his mate since university.

Once he had finished his set Tom immediately grabbed his large water bottle and took a large gulp of water. “What happened to that lass you were seeing last week then? Any gossip?”. It was a clear deflection that Jeremy spotted a mile off.

“Had to bin her off Conners, she was too frigid. What about that girl you were seeing? Kathy? Kayleigh? was it?”

“Katie, actually”, Tom snapped, a little more defensively than he had planned. He immediately started wiping his face with a towel, turning away from Jeremy. He didn’t want his friend to see his face. Tom gathered himself and replied. “Same mate. Your set.”.

“Dude, you’re so cold! I thought you liked this one.” Jeremy was slightly disbelieving.

“Whatever gave you that idea?” Tom snapped. He gave Jeremy an accusatory look. He had not spoken openly about him and Katie.

Jeremy was a little startled but tried to de-escalate the situation. “Nothing mate. Relax. Just when you stopped seeing her, you just locked yourself in your room all evening playing Adele. That ain’t normal, bro.”. Jeremy took up position on the squat rack before Tom could respond, and began his set.

Tom had calmed down by the time Jeremy was finished. “Sorry mate, I’m just trying to get my head down, you know, with my work”.

Jeremy nodded sympathetically. “A little too much if you ask me Conners. I’m a bit worried. I even set you up with that adult actress and all you did was write an article on her. That was an open goal”.

Tom looked down and didn’t respond. He couldn’t tell his friend the truth. Katie had been about to cave his skull in with a Dentons branded paper weight when she found out he was googling an adult film actress. It was lucky that he had looked up in time as the weight came flying down towards him as Katie aimed it at his head. He had to think up a cover story quick to calm her down, as she had that sadistic look in her eye. It was a stroke of good fortune that he had noticed the subject of his article was a law student. Unfortunately, he had to write the article to carry on the lie.

Tom hesitated slightly, sipping absent-mindedly from his bottle. He eventually spoke, in a quiet regretful tone. “Truth be told, I’m seriously thinking about packing it all in, going back to Scotland”.

Jeremy paused, and shook his head in disbelief. “You what, Conners? Come on, stop it”. He really didn’t want to lose his mate.

“It’s not just this. It’s my folks. They’re not as young as they used to be. They really need help in the tailor’s shop.”. He didn’t add that it would be a sweet relief end the whole charade. It would give him chance to sleep at night. It would also get him away from Alex and his vomiting, booze addled ways. It would get him away from the flying stationary from Katie. He could try to forget her too. Tom knew nothing of the impending Roll on Friday action, and so he had been a little puzzled to see an article on the appointment of lawyers by Legal Cheek. Deep down, he was jealous and hated himself for it. He liked Alex Wade, he thought he was a cool guy, and had enjoyed his stories of beach parties he had been to in Thailand, beachcombing in Bali and nights spent around the campfire on Bondi. But he could not escape the image of Katie looking over at Alex Wade, twirling her hair around her finger as she had used to do with Tom, asking him question after question about his ‘Top’ legal career. That hurt the most. Katie knew full well that ‘Top’ was his word, and one they had enjoyed using together.

“Just don’t do anything hasty, bro.” Jeremy responded, slapping Tom on the back heartily. “Your set now you big girl.”.

Anonymous

So good! Loling here at my desk.

Anonymous

I enjoyed that, good work

Anonymous

A&O NQ pay hits £81,000*

*comprising the following elements or cash equivalents:
– base salary £67.5k (or whatever the 2013 level was)
– discretionary bonus of £2,500 to £8,300
– pension contributions of up to £5,630
– stationery (potentially unlimited but on average £32 worth of firm-branded pens, hole-punched pockets and ring binders per year)
– tea, coffee and milk provided in internal kitchens £248 per year
– access to conference room biscuits £38 per year
– free lunches during CPD sessions £252 per year
– free usage of email and wireless internet services on firm Blackberry £178 per year

Anonymous

Don’t forget:

-being able to tell your parents’ friends you work at a Magic Circle law firm (priceless).

Anonymous

Also:

-Prestige (the difference between £78,000 and whatever Kirkland & Ellis pay).

Anonymous

Kirkland shits on Allen & Ovaries for prestige. Get the memo losers.

Anonymous

No.

Anonymous

Shock. More of the clown brigade who think US top dogs are less prestigious than MC.

In London, on any deal/dispute, who do you think sits opposite the US firm trainees and associates? Depending on client/practice area, either other US big law or MC/top Silver Circle. In the latter case, the US firm will source one trainee and one associate to be up against 3 MC trainees and 2 associates. Hence the brutal hours on the part of US firms. You trade longer hours for more responsibility and exposure. But the clients and quality of work are the same and the pay gap puts a few of the very elite US shops in a different league altogether.

A&O take on 85 or somewhere around that every year and Links over 100. L&W take on 20, Cleary 15, K&E and Skadden at 10, Sull&Crom 5. From the numbers, the US firms are the most exclusive. At MC, you’re part of an enormous herd that are very well paid and at the firm’s HQ so facilities are well developed for training etc. But to confuse home ground advantage for firm prestige is silly. (I’d also rather be in the Gherkin where K&E are than any of the MC digs).

Money isn’t everything but based on PEP rankings, only Slaughters has a shot but not even. Some US firm equity partners take in literally 4 times (K&E) what an MC equivalent will make.

Bottom line is it’s down to preference but to think US shops are not as prestigious as MC is just silly.

Anonymous

While US firms have a great brand in their domestic market, they’re still building their practices internationally (though, obviously at a blistering pace). I guess when we refer to prestige it relates to the calibre of the matters that well developed practices of the MC attract, for example, in pan-European corporate transactions. We certainly negotiate against the likes of Wachtell and Skadden in our work, but often it’s lead from their New York office. Leading on high calibre matters is what we mean by prestige. It’s important because your deal sheet is currency for lateral moves. That said, ultimately lawyers of whatever calibre provide ‘support’ to businesses. The real power belongs to the business people. If prestige matters that much, work in a front office executive role for a Fortune 500 company – don’t become a lawyer.

Anonymous

I don’t understand the source of your broad brush generalisation – do you work in a MC/SC or top 10 us firm? I work in house and can see that deals are staffed equally leanly for both us and mc firms; and there are definitely differences in the work product of a mc and us firm.

Anonymous

What’s the difference?

Anonymous

I know for sure that MC partners have a contempt for you in-house people. I heard one saying that in-house counsel are uninspiring. The partners kiss your arse when trying to get your business, but bitch about you behind your back. I’ve seen this on several occasions now – probably wouldn’t admit to working in-house if I were you, not on prestige-obsessed LC comment threads.

Anonymous

Just terrible. I wouldn’t get out of bed for less than £150,000.

Anonymous

Why can Jones Day pay their NQs £100k while A&O can only pay £81k? Surely Jones Day is not more profitable than A&O?

Jones Day HR

Hush money.

Anonymous

Top bantz.

Anonymous

US firms obviously do more very profitable litigation work in America.

Anonymous

Still doesn’t explain how a mediocre shop like Jones Day gets to pay more than A&O. I guess they do hire less staff each year…

Anonymous

How does that not explain it? JD is a US firm whom represent a chunk of Fortune 500 companies, most of which operate in the U.K./Europe. JD’s London office will get most of that work.

Also where has this persona come from that JD is a mediocre shop? If they can afford to pay 100k NQ, as well as increasing their trainee numbers (they only took on 15 two years ago, they have now upped that to 20) it is clearly a very profitable and respectful shop.

The pay with US firms has to do with the lawyers levleof skill. US law firms would rather have less amazingly-skilled lawyers whom they pay more, hence their high PEP rates/NQ rates. MC would rather have a bunch of good lawyers whom they pay less – hence the low (in comparison to the US shops) PEP and low NQ salaries.

Personally, I would much rather train under any US law firm than an MC. Their smaller intake means better training, so you get to become an outstanding associate. Not to say the pay difference – if I can get 20-50k more working in similar work, why the hell not?

Anonymous

This is LC, ever firm that isn’t their own is a ‘mediocre shop’

Anonymous

Jones Day is more profitable than A&O. Look at PEP – US law firms smash MC.

Anonymous

still poor for a US shop

Anonymous

yeah, but are they happy? … I am Poor … I am HAPPY … I AM A LYING *******

US Trainee

Lol at all of the future Magic Circle trainees that I see trawling these comments each week trying to justify that the prestige of going to A&O, CC, et al trumps anything else.

It’s simple, if you are keen on:

Private Equity – go to Kirkland, Latham, Weil (or Simpson Thacher NQ)
M&A – go to Skadden or Cleary
Finance / Cap Markets – Latham, Davis Polk
Banking – Latham or Weil
Litigation/Arbitration – go to Skadden, Debevoise (or better, Quinn Emanuel if you are a NQ)
Affording a house in London – Any of the above

Anonymous

No it’s simpler than that:

US firms – money
MC firms – prestige

Anonymous

Simpler still:

US firms – bollox & misery
MC firms – bollox & misery

Anonymous

Update:

US firms – unemployment
MC firms – unemployment

Anonymous

You chopper. You just don’t get it do you.

Anonymous

Articles like these seem to bring out the most nasty commenters on here. Just a bunch of insecure little bitches is all I see, insulting eachothers firms and scoffing at pay rates.

What a fucking world we live in where scum like this can roam free and say whatever they want

Anonymous

Do I sense some riled partner not liking the fact that people are expressing the truth about his beloved (terrible thing Stockholm Syndrome) firm ?

How awful that people can do this, without fear of retribution, behind a veil of anonymity and not be immediately identified and strung up for it.

Time to give vent to your inner spoilt child and pettily get the secretary to fire off an email to LC and indicate that you no longer wish to endorse or in any way be identified with them. Suck it up loser, go and puff on another B&H out the back !

Anonymous

I don’t think it’s a partner posting on Legal Cheek – they’re far too arrogant to care what anonymous commenters think. Even if there are comments adverse to their firm, they know that their expensive graduate recruitment machine will brainwash the next batch of insecure overachievers to get their narcissistic supply from their firm. Alternatively, they pay absurd amounts of money to NQs, failing to disclose that you may be fired in three months if they are not happy with your performance. In any case, Tom deletes the most interesting comments anyway, so inside information on firms generally does not stay visible on the comments thread for long.

Anonymous

Yeah that’s certainly true. Don’t think we haven’t noticed Tom ! 😐

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